photo credits @ UCI
The Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup headed to the south of Belgium for the sixth round at the citadel of Namur. The 2600m long technical course featured 83 meters of elevation on the muddy slopes of the citadel, making for the toughest race of the season.
UCI World Champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) completed a race-long solo ride to victory, three weeks after ending Mathieu van der Poel’s winning streak in Zeven, Germany. After escaping an early crash in the 61-strong peloton, Van Aert surged away and finished more than a minute ahead of compatriot Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon), who crashed three times. Van der Poel remains in the lead of the individual standings 75 points ahead of Van Aert, with Toon Aerts in third.
There was a major upset in the Women’s race, with 20-year-old Evie Richards (Great-Britain) capturing her first-ever UCI World Cup victory. Riding her first World Cup round of the season Richards, the 2016 Under-23 UCI World Champion, started off the back but soon began moving up the pack, clocking fastest lap times. Halfway through the race, she bridged up to leaders Eva Lechner (CLIF Pro Team), Katherine Compton (USA) and compatriot Nikki Brammeier (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) before pulling away to win by 15 seconds in front of Brammeier and Lechner.
Richards was obviously the winner in the Women Under 23 category, and her compatriot Thomas Pidcock won the fourth World Cup round in the Men Under 23 category. Loris Rouiller (Switzerland) won the fourth round in the Men Junior category with a long solo ride.
2017-2018 Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup #7: Heusden-Zolder (Belgium) December 26.
Great Britain’s Evie Richards, 20, combines cyclocross with mountain biking. She stepped into the spotlight at the Vallnord 2015 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships where she captured the silver medal in the Junior cross-country Olympic race. The following year, she took a surprise win at the rain-soaked first-ever Women Under 23 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. In January, she tried to defend her title at the 2017 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles (Luxembourg), eventually finishing third.
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